The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new measures to support the pro-life movement by revoking an Obama-era “legal guidance” that discouraged states from defunding abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood.
Coinciding with Friday’s March for Life in Washington, President Donald Trump made the announcement that states will now be allowed to cut Medicaid funding to clinics that provide abortion services. The Department of Health and Human Services sent a letter to state Medicaid directors rescinding an Obama administration directive from April 2016, which warned that any funding cuts to family planning providers would break federal law.
“We are reinstating flexibility for state Medicaid directors to establish reasonable standards and protect program integrity in their own state programs,” said Charmaine Yoest, assistant secretary of public affairs at HHS, in a Friday press call, according to CNN.
HHS will implement new regulations aimed at protecting health care workers’ civil rights based on religious and conscience objections, according to officials who said the changes were necessary after years of the federal government forcing health care workers to provide services like abortion, euthanasia, and sterilization.
The Obama-era guidance restricted states’ ability “to take certain actions against family-planning providers that offer abortions,” according to a statement by HHS.
Medicaid is funded by both state and federal taxes. But under federal law, Medicaid is prohibited from funding abortion services. Abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood receive funding for abortions from other sources.